ROGERS — With their postseason destiny in their hands, the Rogers Eagles did not waste the opportunity Friday night.
In fact, they fanatically seized it.
Rogers used a 36-point second quarter to fuel a 52-point lead by halftime and rode the success of the opening 24 minutes to a 59-0 victory over the Florence Buffaloes.
The Eagles scored seven first-half touchdowns and held Florence to 161 yards of offense, most of them coming in the second half, to punch their ticket to the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
“I liked how we came out and set the tone early and dominated the football game from the get-go,” second-year Rogers head coach Charlie Roten said. “Our guys were attacking. We played fast on both sides of the ball. And on defense, we were looking to make big hits.”
Christian Riley led the way for the Eagles (6-3, 2-1 District 8-3A-II) in the first half by scoring three touchdowns and recording 68 yards rushing before halftime. He capped Rogers’ opening two drives with 6-yard runs, and Kasey Kohring’s pass to Joshua Minor and Heath Schiller’s run secured both 2-point conversions to give Rogers a 16-0 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Then came the onslaught.
After forcing Florence (2-7, 0-3) to punt on the ensuing drive, Schiller threw a short pass to Thomas Goodwin, who went 53 yards to make it 24-0 after another 2-point conversion. Jordan Riley scored on a 55-yard run before Rogers recovered a botched punt return by Florence and capitalized with a 22-yard pass from Shiller to Kohring for a touchdown.
Christian Riley recorded his final score on a 3-yard run 2 minutes later, and Rogers put the finishing touches on a dominant second quarter with another Schiller-to-Kohring touchdown from 14 yards out for a 52-0 lead at the break.
“We had a bad snap. We fumbled the ball. We had a fourth-and-4 and came up a yard short. We didn’t field a kickoff, just a lot to overcome tonight,” Florence head coach Zane Bode said.
While the Buffaloes struggled to keep the game competitive, there was a sibling rivalry in action along the Rogers sideline.
“We do competitions of who can get the most yards in a game,” Christian Riley said of he and his older brother Jordan, who had 97 yards rushing but only one touchdown. “I feel good about (getting more touchdowns).
He’s been on varsity longer than me, so I feel good about scoring more.”
The teams went to a running clock in the second half to speed up the outcome of the 2-hour, 15-minute tilt. J.J. Frieden found a hole up the middle and ran untouched 67 yards for a touchdown to cap the scoring midway through the third quarter.
“We can be a really good football team. I think we can make some noise in the playoffs,” Roten said. “We have guys like Christian, Jordan, Joshua, Thomas, Kasey, and that’s not even mentioning Heath, who makes this whole thing go. It’s a great treat to have, knowing you don’t have to rely on one person.”
The Buffaloes have lost three straight but can still clinch a third-straight playoff berth by beating Hamilton (4-5, 0-3) at home in next week's season finale.